City considers ordinance to waive pet adoption fee

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The City of LaGrange is making a concerted effort to ensure that more local dogs and cats are able to be adopted using a proposed ordinance.

The LaGrange City Council held the first reading during its regular meeting on Tuesday on an ordinance that would grant the city manager the ability to waive pet adoption fees when deemed necessary.

“We are having a really hard time finding folks to adopt these animals, so what we have suggested in this ordinance is to allow the city manager to waive adoption fees in situations that arise like this,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said. “To give families — the spay and neutering fee, we basically already cover that. When you do adopt, we also give you a voucher, and you can take that and use to spay or neuter the animal, so that is really what the adoption fee is for.”

Like many animal shelters, the LaGrange Animal Shelter sometimes experiences overcrowding, and the change is expected to help adoptable pets find homes.

“From time to time we do have overcrowding,” said Chris Bussey, shelter director for the City of LaGrange Animal Shelter. “We accept animals from three different agencies plus the public. … The impact would help lower the population at the shelter and lower the euthanasia rate at the shelter.”

The recommendation for the change came from the LaGrange Police Department who works closely with local animal shelters.

“It is unfortunate that the LaGrange Animal Services facility quite frequently deals with overcrowding of its available kennel space,” Capt. Mike Pheil said. “We are fortunate in the professional relationship that has been developed with Puppy Pipeline, Inc. (and other organizations,) which has allowed for the transport of many dogs and cats — over the years — to be transported for prompt adoption in northern states.”

Despite that relationship, the ideal situation would be for locals to adopt the dogs and cats instead of sending them to another location.

“However, this process simply does not accommodate the needs of all animals that find way to our local shelter,” Pheil said. “The staff of the animal shelter faculty and I applaud the commitment of our city manager and council in taking unusual, proactive steps that may encourage the increase of local adoptions, especially when our facility is ‘at capacity.’ We are always excited and encouraged when local adoptions of these animals take place, and we are hopeful that this slight modification in the ordinance will encourage more local, regional citizens to come and find their next domestic pet at our facility.”

If it is approved, the ordinance would not remove the adoption fee outright. It would only make it possible for the city manager to waive it.

“We would still have the adoption fee, but the city manager would have the authority to waive it,” Kelsey said.

The LaGrange City Council is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.